Hair-Raising Halloween Cake Decorating with an Airbrush
When it comes to Halloween themed bakes, there are some incredible cakes out there – but they can require so many different tools to produce them that I thought I’d share something a little simpler. If you own an airbrush, then really going to town with your Halloween cake couldn’t be easier! It also provides you with the perfect opportunity to practice your airbrushing skills too, as small mistakes can simply be turned into part of the bigger design.
To try your hand at creating a scary tree, simply hold the airbrush so it’s almost touching the cake, then pull the trigger back to release lots of colour. Once your colour is on the cake, stop pulling the trigger and just use the air that is coming from the airbrush to blow the colour across the cake. There you have it! On this particular cake, I’ve produced a sunset effect to show just how easy it is to turn something simple into something spooky!
- 7″ Iced cake
- 8″ Wilton cake circle
- Small polystyrene skull (about 3″ in size)
- Sugar paste
- Wilton rolling pin
- Wilton measuring mat
- Airbrush and compressor
- Black, red, orange, yellow & brown airbrush colours
- Cornflour in a Wilton Dust-N-Store Dusting Cup
- Water brush
(If you are worried about drawing the details with the airbrush, you can use Wilton Food Writers)
Using the water brush, brush water all over the polystyrene skull, then roll out the sugar paste to a thickness of about 1/2 cm. Carefully roll the paste around the rolling pin, and use this to gently apply it to the skull, by laying it over the top, and smoothing it down with your fingertips. Use your fingers to make the indentations of the eye sockets and the nose. Then use a cocktail stick to add the delicate indentations of the mouth and individual teeth, and any cracks you wish to add to the skull.
To airbrush the skull, place a couple of drops of brown airbrush colour into the colour well of the airbrush. Very lightly spray a gentle haze over the skull so it’s no longer bright white. Next, put some black airbrush colour into the colour well and gently shade in the eyes, nose, and under the cheekbones to add shadow. I recommend you practice producing fine lines with your airbrush on a piece of paper first: hold the airbrush very close to the paper so it is almost touching, then pull back the trigger as lightly as possible and move it as if you were using a pen.
If the line is too thick, you could be too far away from the paper or pulling the trigger back too much. This is why getting the hang of it before you apply this to your skull is a good idea! Once you are comfortable with creating the lines, move back to the skull and gently fill in the lines around the mouth, between the individual teeth, and in any cracks you added in Step 1.
Set the skull aside to dry while you work on the cake. Place your cake onto the Measuring Mat. To create the spooky moonscape, roll a ball of paste in your hands about the size of a Malteser, then squash it flat and press it against the cake where you wish to place your moon (mine is just over halfway up). This will keep your moon white, whilst you create the spooky sky backdrop in Step 4.
Run a little water through the airbrush to clean it, then add around 3 drops of yellow airbrush colour into the colour well. Holding the airbrush about 4 inches away from the cake, gently pull back the trigger to spay a gentle haze around the bottom of the cake about 2 inches high (if the colour runs out, just add a few more drops).
Next, add around 3 drops of orange colouring and repeat the gentle haze above the yellow, overlapping the yellow slightly and moving up. Repeat this with red colouring above the orange, and then black colouring above the red, until the entire circumference of the cake is coloured. Ensure each layer slightly overlaps the layer beneath it for a beautiful, graduated effect.
When it comes to using the black, be sure to add a few more drops of colouring. (When you reach the top of the cake, you will need to continue to cover the entire top also). As you transition from the side of the cake to the top, ensure your airbrush tool is always held at approximately 90 degrees to the surface of the cake for the best result.
Now to add the extra detail at the bottom of the cake! Use your airbrush tool to create the small hill first. This can be produced freehand, or you can cut your own stencil out of a piece of paper and hold this against your cake before you spray. Next, carefully spray the outline of the church and its windows and door. Colour it in, leaving the windows and door to display a yellow glow. The cross and gravestones can be added in the same way, or, if you are not confident with freehand work, you can create your own paper stencils.
Now you can turn your attention to the moon. Remove the ball of paste you added in Step 3, and you’ll be left with a stunning white moon! To tone it down a little, hold the airbrush approximately 1cm away from the moon and gently spray around the inner edge of the moon, fading towards the centre. Next, hold the airbrush back from the cake and gently spray a haze of black around the cake to add a dusky finish. Leave this to dry before trying to move your cake!
Once dry, place the cake onto your cake board. Use red twine ribbon to add decoration around the base of the cake. Then, place some loosely looped red twine ribbon under the skull as you place it atop your cake, leaving the ends of the twine to flow freely down the side. And there you have it, your quick-and-easy – but incredibly impressive – Halloween cake is ready to serve!